Rita's Reviews > The Time Paradox

The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
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's review
Aug 02, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: kids, loved

This is the sixth book in the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin (pronounced Owen) Colfer. I started reading this series out loud to Alex the first week of second grade for him, which would have been back in ’02, right after we moved here. We had caught up with the Harry Potter books and people who liked that series recommended the Artemis Fowl books (at which time there were only two).

These books are very different than the Potter books, even though they attract the same audience. These are fantasy/sci fi books. Fairies and magic yes, but also a whole new realm of technology both human and non-human. The technology is as important as the magic. The melding of science and magic is huge. There is Foaly, the centaur who runs the surveillance for the LEPrecon (that would be the Lower Elements Police reconnaissance) who invents new gadgets and oversees them from his control booth. Captain Holly Short is the main character second only to Artemis himself in the series. She’s an elf and the first and only female captain on the LEP in fairy history. Butler (I have a big crush on Butler) is Artemis’s bodyguard. “Butlers” have been bodyguards to the Fowl family as far back as history goes, and were rumored to have coined the term “butler” for the services they provide. He’s human, but barely. He’s trained in many styles of martial arts and proficient with any weapon. Even Holly shudders when she’s had to fight against him. His ethics sometimes clash with Artemis’s, but his loyalty is to Artemis first. Artemis is an Irish criminal mastermind teenager. He invents, he writes, he dallies in medicine, art and music. He is a super-genius beyond measure (although many have tried). In the first book, he’s also possibly a sociopath.

Artemis is not a nice person when the series begins, which I thought a very interesting concept in a juvenile book. It’s up to the readers to bounce around these moral issues. He’s obviously likable to the reader, he’s our main character and he’s suave and brilliant and rich and all things that kids this age want to be. But, he’s spoiled and selfish and makes choices that hurt others often. Naturally, there is a tip in his moral balance that begins in the first book and continues, but we’re reminded now and again who Artemis was when we first met him.

In this particular book, Artemis needs to go back in time to save his mother. She’s contracted a fairy illness and the only cure is derived from a lemur that Artemis himself helped make extinct eight years prior. I’ve always had a hard time with time travel. The whole “Time Paradox” has baffled me. But, when approached head on as Colfer does, with centaurs and fairies and kindhearted demons, then how can something like time travel be unbelievable:

Artemis smiled mirthlessly. “Ah yes, the trusty time paradox . If I go back in time and kill my grandfather, then shall I cease to exist? I believe, as Gorben and Berndt did, that any repercussions are already being felt. We can only go change the future, not the past or present. If I go back, then I already have been back.

When he does go back, Artemis is pitted against his former self, the one who hasn’t yet learned any sort of ethics, the one who would allow the lemur to be killed. It makes for a heck of a story and gives us a little more insight into the mind of Artemis before we met him in the first book. Of course there are lots of twists and turns and surprises, making it the kind of book we expect from Mr. Colfer.

As a treat, go watch Eoin Colfer talk about the book himself on the Artemis Fowl website: http://www.artemisfowl.com/ Wait for the page to load, then click on The Time Paradox Video. He is quite a guy himself and a person I really admire.

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